Published Monday 30 July 2012

Linda Villumsen, Denmark’s gift to New Zealand sport, produced an excellent ride in difficult conditions to finish 18th in the 140km women’s cycling road race today.
Villumsen, who was fifth in the same event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when representing Denmark, handled the wet road and challenging course well during the 3h 35min race.
Dutchwoman Marianne Vos beat Briton Elizabeth Armistead in the sprint for the gold medal, with Olga Zabelinskaya of Russia third.
Behind them was a large bunch of 24 riders, including Villumsen. There were 66 starters, but only 40 finished the race.
Villumsen’s performance was all the more noteworthy because she was the only New Zealander in the race, whereas most other big-name riders had the benefit of riding in teams.
“I didn’t have the legs to go with the three in front when they broke away,” she said afterwards. “But in the end it was probably better this way.
“The conditions were slippery and dangerous. There were many crashes and punctures and a lot of the girls were nervous, including myself. So I am happy with how it finished.”
Villumsen’s main Olympics focus is the time trial later in the week. She has been a medallist in that event at the last three world championships.